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View Full Version : putting pricing on advertisements? thoughts?


facework84
12-06-2011, 10:00 PM
This was my first year in the lawn business. When I started out, I had some pricing on my flyers and craigslist ad that said such and such service "as low as" such and such $, but it seemed to lead to some confusion and a few unhappy people when actually quoting pricing for people. A few people said 'but the ad said it costs $35 (example)' and I explained, NO, it didn't, it said "as low as"

Anyway, I quit putting pricing on advertisements. I did a lot of estimates but got about half the jobs. Not sure what normal closing rate is but it didn't seem good to me. It made me wonder if I should just tell people up front what minimum rates are, over the phone, instead of wasting so much drive time and gas.

so, what are your experiences with putting pricing on advertising vs not? For my spring campaign, I can't decide if I should list "as low as pricing" for various packages, or if I should list no pricing, that way when they call, I have more of a chance to be a "salesman" to the people that wouldn't normally call if I put my minimum pricing on paper. On the other hand, if I have no pricing, and they get advertisements that DO list pricing that seem fair, they may not even give me a call. What do you think?

richardcog
12-07-2011, 12:38 AM
if you want price by the sq feet and then no worries

GreenI.A.
12-07-2011, 01:58 PM
Thats a tough one. I don't do maintenance but I receive multiple advertisements every year with pricing. I usually laugh at hem because I would never hire a person who said I'll do it for xx.xx without first walking the property. How do you know how exactly the back yard is? What if you cant do it with a z or large walk behind, there might be some obsticles that require you do 10k feet with a 21" mower. Is it one big area with only edging around the perimeter or are there tons of beds leading to an extra 300' of edging? My own yard you cant see 90% of the turf from google earth or other satelite imeges because it is heavily shaded, it looks like I have about 5k when it is closer to 80k of turf. Every season I get those "blind" quotes offering to do it for $40. Then I get the large fert companies sending out quotes for what my yard look like and what my neighbors yards look like and they offer a price of $60-70 an app, when the pricing sould be in the $350 range

Darryl G
12-07-2011, 02:30 PM
I don't see anything wrong with saying "starting at" or "as low as" $____ in ads. To me it gets rid of the cheapskates if nothing else. Both my mowing and plowing prices start at $40 and I make no secret of it. But if you're going to say as low as $10 and in reality only have that include only 25 squre foot or less properties located within 100 feet of your shop you're gonna P people off.

I ran a special one spring that was the "budget plan" special for $100/month for mowing and a spring cleanup for most properties (which around here would mean under 1/2 acre). I got a lot of calls put P'd a lot of people off because it was a 12 month budget plan. Some people got downright nasty! It was my intent to have steady income and help people budget, but many of them saw it as a scam, which wasn't my intent. So just be carefull that you don't come across as being deceptive.

And if you're closing on 50% of your estimates you're doing pretty good...any more and I'd say your pricing is too low.

Dr.NewEarth
12-07-2011, 04:01 PM
A 50% closing rate on estimates is pretty good.

AlohaMowing
12-07-2011, 08:40 PM
I like being very open and straightforward, but I think there are just too many variables to publish any price. To say "as low as . . ." just invites an unhappy prospective customer. I won't even quote a per square foot price over the phone because the time to do a job is so dependent on the number of obstructions, such a trees or shrubs, and slope of the land. If I was working suburban neighborhoods of postage stamp lawns I might feel differently.

facework84
12-07-2011, 11:35 PM
the replies seem to be on both sides, as i suspected. any experience with marketing data trying one method vs the other?

facework84
12-07-2011, 11:38 PM
I don't see anything wrong with saying
I ran a special one spring that was the "budget plan" special for $100/month for mowing and a spring cleanup for most properties (which around here would mean under 1/2 acre).

it was worth the try. i can see having a flat, monthly fee making it easier on the customer. what all did you include in the services?

Darryl G
12-07-2011, 11:53 PM
it was worth the try. i can see having a flat, monthly fee making it easier on the customer. what all did you include in the services?

Spring cleanup and weekly mowing (26 mowings) with fall cleanup extra since it's hard to give a flat rate/one rate fits all for that. Basically I figured it on $40/mow and a $150 spring cleanup on properties up to 1/2 acre or so. Like I said, I had quite a few calls, went out on a bunch of estimates and would give them my agreement and go over it with them and when I got to the 12 month payment part they'd flip out. I mean when someone tells you that it's broken up into equal monthly payments, don't you kind of assume it's 12 months...that's what every budget plan I've ever heard of is like...well some will take 2 months off or something and have 10 payments...but still, I didn't expect to get crucified over it.

HBFOXJr
12-08-2011, 11:20 AM
A 50% closing rate on estimates is pretty good.

I wish some marketing expert would weigh in on close rates. I think 50% is high, and 25-33% would be a good goal at a slightly higher price.

HBFOXJr
12-08-2011, 11:38 AM
it was worth the try. i can see having a flat, monthly fee making it easier on the customer. what all did you include in the services?

The concept is great, but old consumer habits are hard to break. A lot more marketing study needs to be done on this industry. I always heard 40 yr ago to break the price down to the lowest value. So we sold fert programs at 4 cents a foot, not by the thousand and not by the app, though the end bill was by the app.

In landscape maintenance, I quickly went to flat monthly bills including what ever specified services. But I always got 15-25% down and 9-10 monthly payments. Typically a down pay in Feb and the first monthly due Mar 30. The last due Nov 30. That way you are ahead of the customer most of the season and have cash to work with. We included clean ups and mulch. We never disclosed the component prices.

So many have gotten in to this industry and ruined a good thing by charging for every little aspect, service or hour, giving the client fuel to nickel, dime and complain the heck out of, every chargeable item. It's all about the bottom line.

Clients also seem averse to paying in the months there is little to no service and quickly forget the budget aspect or annual price. Why fight it. Take all the money in 9-10 months and you'll feel better in the morning.

We've noticed issues selling lawn fert programs today, where the app price is scary or mystical, seeming expensive. Yet when given an annual total, the comment is "that's not bad". So it seems different services have to be presented in different ways. It's maddening.

Another goof ball issue is the rate of pre pay for my sprinkler pkg is not much different that my pre pay fert, yet sprinklers cost a fraction of a fert program. Crazy!

UpNorth
12-12-2011, 09:09 PM
here is a pretty good article on the idea of leaving a price, or not leaving a price.

http://planitgraphics.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/postcarddoor-hanger-advertising-price-or-no-price/

Darryl G
12-12-2011, 10:10 PM
I think that's a little different...leaving a price for a particular property. I think the OP was talking about putting pricing on blanket advertising. Still valuable info, but not quite the same topic.

Exact Rototilling
12-12-2011, 10:54 PM
Lets mix it uP here. Why would a potential client hire your service over another? Why would a potential client hire any LCO without a potential DEMO cut? You wouldn't buy a car without a test drive would.you? Maybe Co X runs dull blades and scalp edges? Co. Y keeps sharp blades and edges vertically like I do with impeccable attention to detail?

So we are trying to.sell a service based on what?
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